EVERY TUESDAY, I get home past midnight. Without letting my dog out and sometimes forgetting to take off my shoes, I crash on the first comfortable-looking surface I see.
I’m not tired because I was out at 1848’s Toonie Tuesday or writing a last-minute essay in the library. I’m exhausted because, along with an amazing team of student journalists, I was putting together the very paper you’re holding.
Our schedules are hectic. We don’t get breaks. We run on caffeine, alcohol, and food from Café Nostalgica—and get paid half minimum wage. But we love what we do and that, along with our amazing readers, is what keeps us going.
But lately there has been a wave of dissatisfaction with the student media on campus. Enduring and addressing criticism is nothing new—that comes with any job. Although we’re always pressed for time, we do our best to answer coherent concerns from our readership. Death threats don’t count.
I have to admit, I appreciate when issues with my section are raised to me personally, as opposed to in the form of a Facebook status, tweet, or any other sort of public communication. I can address the concern, clear up any uncertainties, and explain why I did what I did. It can be a growing experience for both parties when done properly.
That’s why it’s disappointing when readers criticize the Fulcrum openly, publicly, and unconstructively, without giving either party the opportunity to adequately raise, acknowledge, and address the issue at hand.
And disagreeing with an article, that’s one thing. Criticizing how our organization runs without a constructive solution on how to fix it is another.
The most consistent complaints I have heard lately are, “You didn’t cover this” or “You were late writing about that,” which all amount to several people telling a crowd of students how bad our publication is.
Well, we are not omnipresent. We don’t know about every event on and off campus, we can’t be everywhere at once, and, most certainly, we can’t write 20 articles per day.
The reality is, editors running this paper already spend an unreal amount of time in the office. Take into account school, social lives, and basic needs and you’ll understand why we can’t always be on top of everything.
The moral of this column is if you want us to cover something, just tell us. If you have a problem with how we’re doing things, let us know. We’ll be more than happy to address your issues one-on-one, but just like our coverage is fair and balanced, I ask that you criticize us in a fair and balanced way toward us.
Cheap shots are unwelcome, and when I only sleep a few hours per night to put my section together, the last thing I want to hear is what a shitty job I’m doing without any coherent suggestions on how to improve.